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Screening Candidates In vs Out


Last week someone asked me what I meant by “I screen candidates in versus out.” Here’s an example.


Screening out:

- Interviewer: "Tell me about yourself."

- Candidate: Says some things.

- Interviewer: (thinking… they didn’t say the things I want to hear, so they’re not a fit.) Asks some more questions to fill up the time and moves on.


Screening in:

- Interviewer: "You’ve done a lot in your career. At this point, when you think of yourself holistically, where is it that you add the most value? In what kind of role are you most impactful?" (I still ask vague questions to start… on purpose)

- Candidate: Says some things.

- Interviewer: (thinking… they didn’t say the things I want to hear. Let me ask more directly.) "You have a great background. We’re looking for someone to do X, which you didn’t mention. Have you led that sort of transformation before? Can you tell me more about that?"


Lots of candidates haven’t interviewed in years. They don’t always have their best stories ready to go. They don’t know it’s their job to tie correlations between their background and the company’s journey. Too many job seekers go into their 20 minute prepared resume monologue unprompted. It’s up to the interviewer to listen with curiosity, ask direct questions, address concerns, and then determine if someone’s a fit. That's screening in vs out.

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